Timeline of Poets Return to home645BC Archilochus (b.~680BC),
Greek poet (Archilochos, Archilocos), died about this time. He lived
on the island of Paros and his innovative poetry, in various meters,
was the first to focus upon personal experiences and emotions.
(Econ, 12/3/11, TQ
278BC Qu Yuan (b.~340BC), Chinese poet and
scholar, died. His poems included “The Lament," written following
the capture of Yingdu, capital of Chu, by General Bai Qi of the
state of Qin.
100BC The Greek poet Meleager gathered a
collection of poems in his “anthologia" (The Greek Anthology).
(WSJ, 11/15/08, p.W10)
55BC Lucretius (b.~99BC), a
Roman poet and philosopher, died about this time. He had authored
“On the Nature of Things" (De Rerum Natura), which laid out in 7,400
lines of Latin verse the radical philosophy of the Greek philosopher
Epicurus (341BC-270BC). The work disappeared in the Middle Ages and
lay largely forgotten until 1417, when bibliophile Poggio
Bracciolini stumbled on the work in a monastery in southern Germany.
54BC Gaius Valerius Catullus
(b.~84BC), Roman poet, died about this time. He became famous for
his epicurean lifestyle and erotic poems.
37BC Virgil (b.70BC), Roman
poet, authored the 4th of his Eclogues. This included text regarding
the newborn son of Consul Polio in which Virgil said the child would
initiate a golden age in which lion and lamb would lie together amid
peace and plenty. Early Christians took this as a prediction of
(WSJ, 12/29/07, p.W12)
699 Li Po (d.762), classical
Chinese poet, was born. His poems included "Drinking Alone With the
(SFC, 10/30/03, p.A26)
814 Abu-Nuwas al-Hasan ben Hani
al-Hakami (b.756), one of the greatest of classical Arabic poets,
died. He also composed in Persian on occasion. Born in the city of
Ahvaz in Persia, of an Arab father and a Persian mother, he became a
master of all the contemporary genres of Arabic poetry. Abu Nuwas
has entered the folkloric tradition, and he appears several times in
The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. His witty and humorous
poetry, which dealt not with the traditional desert themes, but with
urban life and the joys of wine and drinking (khamriyyat -
khamriyaat), and ribald humor (mujuniyyat).
12/20/03, p.68)(Econ, 8/18/12, p.55)
1010 Abolqasem Firdawsi
(Ferdowsi), a Persian poet, completed the “Shahnameh," or “Book of
Kings." It is an epic of more than 50,000 rhyming couplets weaving
the history of ancient shahs with myth and legend. One might call it
the Iliad of Persia. Over the centuries shahs have had the poem
copied and illustrated by the best artists of the day. In 2006 Dick
Harris made an abridged translation to English in prose.
(WSJ, p. A-18, 10/13/94)(WSJ, 3/7/06, p.D8)
1058 Al-Ma’arri (b.973), a
blind Syrian philosopher, poet and writer, died. He attacked the
dogmas of religion and rejected the claim that Islam or any other
religion possessed the truths they claimed.
(Econ, 7/13/13, SR
1207 Sep 30, Jalal ud-din Rumi
(Jelaluddin Rumi, d.1273), Persian poet and mystic was born in the
area of Balkh, Afghanistan. He later fled the Mongol invasions with
his family to Konya (Iconium), Anatolia. His work “Mathwani"
(Spiritual Couplets) filled 6 volumes and had a great impact on
Islamic civilization. He founded the Mevlevi order of Sufis, later
known as the “whirling dervishes." In 1998 a film was made about the
Sufi poet’s influence on the 20th century. In 1998 Kabir Helminski
edited “The Rumi Collection" with translation by Robert Bly and
others. His work also included the “Shams I-Tabriz" in which he
dismissed the terminology of Jew, Christian and Muslim as “false
distinctions." The poet Rumi was also known as Mowlana.
(SFC, 7/9/96, p.B5)(SFEC, 9/20/98, DB p.50)(SFEC,
10/25/98, BR p.6)(WSJ, 9/7/01, p.A14)(SSFC, 10/28/01, p.B7)(SSFC,
1265 May 9, Dante Alighieri,
Italian poet (Divine Comedy), was born.
(WUD, 1994 p.367)(MC, 5/9/02)
1304 Jul 20, Francisco Petrarch
(d.1374), Italian poet and scholar, founder of Renaissance Humanism,
was born in Arezzo. He was educated at Avignon and saw himself as a
Florentine, Italian, and man of the world. He was a poet and
autodidact who never stopped studying until his death.
1321 Sep 14, Dante Alighieri
author of the "Divine Comedy," died of malaria just hours after
finishing writing "Paradiso." The poem was completed in Italian
rather than Latin just before his death and helped make Italian the
dominant linguistic force in European literature for the next
several centuries. [see Sep 13]
(HFA, '96, p.38)(WSJ, 3/26/99, p.W2)(HN, 9/14/00)
1343 Geoffrey Chaucer (d.1400),
English author, poet and diplomat, was born about this time.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Chaucer)(WSJ, 9/18/00, p.A36)
1374 Jul 18, Francesco Petrarch
(69), Italian poet (Italia Mia), died.
(SSFC, 7/25/04, p.E3)
1389-1390 Hafez (Khwaja Shams ud-Din Hafiz)
(b.1325/26), Persian poet, died about this time.
1400 Oct 25, Geoffrey Chaucer
(b.~1343), author (Canterbury Tales), died in London. In 1965
Charles Muscatine (1920-2010) authored “Chaucer and the French
Tradition: A Study in Style and Meaning."
(AP, 10/25/97)(WSJ, 9/18/00, p.A36)(SFC, 3/16/10,
1479 Jorge Manrique (b.1440),
Spanish military hero and poet, died.
1529 Jun 21, John Skelton (69),
English poet, died.
1533 Jul 6, Ludovico Ariosto
(57), Italian poet (Orlando Furioso), died.
1534 Gratien du Pont, a French
poet, published a chessboard with 64 rhyming insults to females, one
for each square.
(Econ, 7/10/04, p.76)
1536 May, English poet Thomas
Wyatt was imprisoned in the Tower of London for allegedly committing
adultery with Anne Boleyn.
1541 Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542),
British poet, authored his “Defence," an attempt to get out of the
Tower of London where he faced charges of treason.
(Econ, 5/7/11, p.91)
1542 Sep 24, Thomas Wyatt
(b.1503), British poet, died. He is credited with introducing the
sonnet into English. In 2011 Nicola Shulman authored “Graven With
Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt, Courtier, Poet, Assassin."
1550 Apr 12, Edward de Vere,
17th Earl of Oxford, was born (d.1604). Some claimed that he was
responsible for all the 37 plays, 154 sonnets and 2 long narrative
poems that are attributed to William Shakespeare. De Vere was first
advanced as the author of Shakespeare’s work in 1918 by English
schoolmaster J. Thomas Looney.
(SFC, 4/26/97, p.E1)(WSJ, 5/1/97, p.A16)(WSJ,
1557 Richard Tottel edited
“Songes and Sonnettes," later referred to as “Tottle’s Miscellany."
This came to be regarded as the first important anthology of English
(WSJ, 11/15/08, p.W10)
1568 Sep 5, Tommasso
Campanella, Italian philosopher and poet, who wrote “City of the
Sun," was born.
1580 Jun 10, Luis Camoes
(b.1524), Portuguese poet, died. He fought in colonial battles in
Morocco and India and lost one eye. He was arrested in a street
brawl in Lisbon and left for India. He traveled to Macao and
Mozambique after which he published "Os Lusiadas" (The Lusiads,
1572), a poem that glorified Vasco da Gama and the history of
p.D6)(SSFC, 3/10/02, p.M3)
1591 Aug 24, Robert Herrick,
English poet (Gather ye rosebuds) was baptized.
1591 Dec 14, San Juan de la
Cruz (b.1542), Spanish poet, died. He is remembered for his treatise
“Dark Night of the Soul."
1593 Aug 23, Fulvio Testi,
Italian poet (Pianto d'Italia), was born.
1608 Dec 9, English blind poet
and polemical pamphleteer John Milton (1608-1674) was born in
London. His work included "Paradise Lost," Paradise Regained," and
(WUD, '94, p.911)(WSJ, 5/6/97, p.A20)(AP,
1613 Sep 15, Thomas Overbury
(b.1581), Elizabethan poet, died in London. He was murdered by his
wife, Florence Maybrick, who used an enema of arsenic. The murder
was arranged by Frances Howard, Lady Essex, who felt attacked by
Overbury’s poem “A Wife."
1616 Apr 23, Miguel de
Cervantes (b.1547), Spanish poet and novelist, died in Madrid.
1616 Apr 23, William
Shakespeare (b.1564), poet and playwright, died in
Stratford-on-Avon, England. In 2004 Stephen Greenblatt authored
“Will In the World." In 2006 Colin McGinn authored “Discovering the
Meaning Behind the Plays."
(AP, 4/23/97)(WSJ, 9/24/04, p.W7)(SSFC, 12/24/06,
1621 Jul 8, Jean La Fontaine,
poet and author of Fables, was born.
1627 Luis de Gongora y Argote
(b.1561), Spanish poet, died.
1631 Mar 31, John Donne
(b.1572), British metaphysical poet, died in London. In 2006 John
Stubbs authored “Donne: The Reformed Soul."
(www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/donnebio.htm)(Econ, 9/9/06, p.79)
1631 Aug 9, John Dryden, the
1st official poet laureate of England (1668-1700), was born at
1633 Mar 1, George Herbert
(b.1593), Welsh-born priest and poet, died. In 2013 John Drury
authored “Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Herbert)(Econ, 8/31/13, p.72)
1635 Aug 27, Lope Felix de Vega
(72), playwright, poet (Angelica, Arcadia), died.
1637 Aug 6, Ben Johnson (65),
English dramatist and poet, died. In 1960 Jonas Barish wrote "Ben
Jonson and the Language of Prose Comedy."
(AP, 1/4/98)(WUD, 1994, p.771)(SFC, 4/4/98,
1644 Poet John Milton published
"Areopagitica," an essay in defense of a free press.
(SFC, 1/21/04, p.D2)
1644-1694 Matsuo Basho, Japanese poet. His work
include "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" (Oku no Hosomichi). One
of his poems celebrated the entrancing cry of the cicada.
(SFC, 11/28/96, p.C16)(WUD, 1994, p.124)(SFC,
7/29/97, p.C3)(Econ, 7/5/14, p.67)
1646 Aug 28, Fulvio Testi (53),
Italian poet (Poesie liriche), died.
1647 Apr 1, John Wilmot
(d.1680) Second Earl of Rochester, poet (A Satyr Upon Mankinde),
scandalous pornographer and bawdy playwright, was born. He married
Elizabeth Malet, and carried on an affair with the actress Elizabeth
Barry. His friend, playwright George Etherege modeled the character
Dorimont after him in "Man of Mode." A 1994 play by Stephen Jeffrey
titled "The Libertine," is based on Wilmot’s life.
(WSJ, 3/28/96,p.A-12)(WSJ, 1/14/98, p.A17)
1648 Apr 16, John Luyken, poet,
etcher (Duytse Lyre), was born.
1664 Jul 21, Matthew Prior,
English poet, was born.
1667 Aug 20, John Milton
published Paradise Lost, an epic poem about the fall of Adam and
1678 Aug 16, Andrew Marvell
(b.1621), English poet (Definition of Love), died.
1680 Jul 26, John Wilmot, 2nd
Earl of Rochester, poet, courtier, died.
1683 Jul 3, Edward Young,
English poet, dramatist and literary critic, was born. His work
included "Night Thoughts."
1687 Apr 16, George Villiers
(b.1628), the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, died. The English statesman
was a poet, an amateur chemist and one of England’s richest men.
1695 Apr 13, Jean de la
Fontaine (73), French poet (Fables), died.
1695 Apr 17, Sor Juana Ines de
la Cruz (b.~1648), Mexican nun and poet, died of plague.
1700 May 1, John Dryden
(b.1631), English poet, playwright (Rival Ladies), died. He had
written that repentance was virtue of weak minds and the want of
power to sin.
(MC, 5/1/02)(Econ, 7/24/04, p.70)
1712 The poem “The Rape of the
Lock" by English poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was anonymously
published in Lintot’s Miscellany. It was revised, expanded and
reissued under Pope’s name in 1714.
1719 Jun 17, Joseph Addison
(47), English poet, writer, secretary of state, died.
1730 Makhtum Kuli, one of
Turkmenistan’s greatest poets, was born. He died in the 1880s.
1750 Jul 28, Philippe Fabre
d'Eglantine, poet, satirist, politician, was born in France.
1759 Jan 25, Robert Burns
(d.1796), poet and song writer, who wrote "Auld Lang Syne" and
"Comin’ Thru the Rye," was born in Alloway, Scotland. He took
traditional Scottish songs and fiddle tunes, and improved upon
existing words, or added verses where they had been lost. "Should
auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind, should auld
acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne. For old lang syne, my
dear, for old lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for old
(EMN, 1/96, p.4,6)(HN, 1/25/99)(SFC, 12/30/99,
1759 Aug 24, Ewald C. von
Kleist (44), German poet, died.
1761 James Macpherson
(1736-1796), Scottish poet, announced the discovery of an epic on
the subject of Fingal (related to the Irish mythological character
Fionn mac Cumhaill/Finn McCool) written by Ossian (based on Fionn's
son Oisín). He then published poems by Ossian, the blind 3rd century
poet, which became very popular and later exposed as a fraud.
1763 Sep 26, English poet John
Byrom (b.1692) died. The words "Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee" made
their first appearance in print in "one of the most celebrated and
most frequently quoted epigrams," satirizing the disagreements
between George Frideric Handel and Giovanni Battista Bononcini,
written by John Byrom. A nursery rhyme published in 1805 included
the characters Tweedledum and Tweedledee as did Lewis Carroll’s
“Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There"
1767 Phillis Wheatley's
(d.1784) poetry was published for the first time. She traveled to
England in 1773, where her book "Poems on Various Subjects,
Religious and Moral" was hailed as the first published by an African
American. In 1776 the African slave-born poet met with George
Washington in Cambridge, just before the British evacuated Boston.
(HNPD, 2/20/99)(SSFC, 7/25/04, p.F3)
1770 Aug 24, Thomas Chatterton
(b.1752), English poet (Revenge), committed suicide.
1771 Jul 30, Thomas Gray (54),
English poet, died. His work included "Elegy Written in a Country
Church Yard" (1751).
1772 Oct 21, Samuel Taylor
Coleridge (d.1834), English poet and author, was born. His work
included "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1797) and "Kubla Khan."
(AP, 9/12/97)(HN, 10/21/00)
1773 Thomas Day, English
abolitionist, wrote a poem with his friend John Bicknell called “The
(Econ, 2/16/13, p.83)
1774 Aug 12, Robert Southey,
English poet laureate (1813-1843) and biographer of Nelson, was
(HN, 8/12/98)(SC, 8/12/02)
1781 Samuel Johnson
(1709-1784), English lexicographer, essayist and poet, authored
“Lives of the Poets."
(ON, 11/06, p.9)
1782 Aug 18, Poet and artist
William Blake married Catherine Sophia Boucher.
1784 Dec 13, Samuel Johnson
(b.1709), English lexicographer, essayist, poet and moralist best
known for "The Dictionary of the English Language," died.
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." -- (To which Ambrose
Bierce replied, "I beg to submit that it is the first.") Johnson, an
antagonist of slavery, left behind an annuity and much of his
personal property to his black valet, Francis Barber (b.1735-1801).
In 1791 Boswell wrote the celebrated "The Life of Samuel Johnson."
In 1955 Walter Jackson Bate (d.1999 at 81) published "The
Achievement of Samuel Johnson" and in 1977 the biography "Samuel
Johnson." In 2000 Adam Potkay authored "The Passion for Happiness,"
in which he argued that Samuel Johnson should be included in the
Anglo-Scottish Enlightenment along with David Hume, Adam Smith and
Edward Gibbon. In 2000 Peter Martin authored "A Life of James
(AP, 10/8/97)(WSJ, 6/7/00, p.A24)(WSJ, 11/29/00,
p.A24)(ON, 11/06, p.10)(SSFC, 10/28/07, p.M3)
1786 Robert Burns published his
first book of poetry in Kilmarnock.
(SFC, 9/30/98, Z1 p.3)
1792 Aug 4, Percy Bysshe
Shelley (d.1822), English poet and author who wrote "Prometheus
Unbound," was born in Field Place, England. He married Mary
Wollstonecraft Godwin, author of "Frankenstein." He wrote the poem
(WUD, 1994, p.1314)(HN, 8/4/98)
1793 Jul 13, John Clare,
English poet, was born. He was discovered in 1819 and spent his last
30 years in an asylum. In 2003 Jonathan Bate authored "John Clare: A
(HN, 7/13/01)(Econ, 10/11/03, p.85)
1793 Augustin Ximenez
(1726-1817), Marquis of Ximenez, a Frenchman of Spanish origin,
wrote a poem with the line “Attaquons dans ses eaux la perfide
Albion," which means "Let us attack perfidious Albion in her
waters." The poet of perfidy later lectured French soldiers that “Il
est beau de perir," which means “it is beautiful to perish."
(SSFC, 1/14/07, p.M4)(http://tinyurl.com/ye6bd7)
1796 Feb 17, James Macpherson
(b.1736), Scottish poet, died. In 1761 he had announced the
discovery of an epic on the subject of Fingal written by Ossian
(based on Fionn's son Oisín). He then published poems by Ossian, the
alleged blind 3rd century poet, which became very popular and later
exposed as a fraud.
1796 Jul 21, Robert Burns (37),
Scottish poet (Auld Lang Syne), died.
1797 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
authored his "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
(CW, Winter 04, p.17)
1798 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
and William Wordsworth published "Lyrical Ballads."
(WSJ, 4/15/99, p.A20)
1799 May 26, Alexander Pushkin,
Russian poet (d.1837), was born (OC). His bicentennial in Russia was
celebrated Jun 6,1999. [see Jun 6]
(HFA, '96, p.30)(AHD, p.1062)(SFC, 6/3/99, p.C2)
1799 Jun 6, Alexander Pushkin
(d.1837), Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature,
was born (NC). He was the descendant of an Abyssinian slave of royal
blood who was given to Peter the Great as a gift. His works included
"Boris Godunov," "Eugene Onegin," and "The Queen of Spades." [see
(HFA, '96, p.30)(AHD, p.1062)(SFC, 6/3/99,
p.C2)(HN, 6/6/99)(WSJ, 7/15/99, p.A16)
1800-1820 The classic love poem "The Tale of Kieu"
was written in Vietnam.
1801 Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
English poet, wrote to Sir Humphrey Davy a letter in which he says:
"I seem to sink in upon myself in a ruin, like a Column of Sand,
informed and animated only by a Whirl-Blast of the Dessert."
Coleridge had become addicted to opium in this year.
(OAPOC-TH, p.71)(WSJ, 4/15/99, p.A20)
1802 Aug 13, Nikolaus Lenau,
German poet (Faust, Die Albigenser), was born in Hungary.
1804 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(32), poet, fled to Malta and worked as an assistant to the civilian
governor. He returned to England in 1806.
(WSJ, 4/15/99, p.A20)
1805 Walter Scott (1771-1832)
of Edinburgh, Scotland, published his first long poem: “The Lay of
the Last Minstrel."
1809 Aug 6, Alfred Lord
Tennyson (d.1892), English poet laureate (1850), was born. His work
included: "The Charge of the Light Brigade." "Knowledge comes, but
(HN, 8/6/98)(AP, 10/6/00)
1809 Lord Byron (1788-1824)
traveled to Spain, Albania and Greece with John Cam Hobhouse and
soon met with Ali Pasha.
1809 English poet Samuel Taylor
Coleridge published his essay “On the Vulgar Errors Respecting Taxes
(Econ, 5/19/12, p.21)
1813-1843 Robert Southey was the poet laureate of
England over this period. He was the author of "The Three Bears."
(SFEC, 2/15/98, Z1 p.8)
1817 Aug 24, Aleksei K.
Tolstoy, [Kozjma Prutkov], Russian poet, writer, was born.
1817 Percy Bysshe Shelley (25),
English romantic poet, authored his sonnet “Ozymandias." It was
first published in 1818.
1822 Jul 8, Percy Bysshe
Shelley (b.1792), English poet, drowned while sailing in Italy at
1823 Dec 23, The poem "A Visit
from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore, often called "Twas the night
before Christmas," was published in the Troy, N.Y., Sentinel. Recent
scholarship reveals the original to have been written by Major Henry
(AP, 12/23/97)(AH, 4/01, p.12)(AH, 2/05, p.18)
1823 Lord Byron returned to
Greece to provide moral support to insurgents and draw attention to
Ottoman massacres of Greek civilians.
9/7/08, Books p.5)
1824 Apr 19, George Gordon,
(6th Baron Byron, b.1788) aka Lord Byron, English poet, died of
malaria in Greece at Missolonghi on the gulf of Patras preparing to
fight for Greek independence. In 1999 Benita Eisler published the
biography "Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame." In 2002 Fiona
MacCarthy authored "Byron : Life and Legend." In 2009 Edna O’Brien
authored “Byron in Love."
(SFC, 6/9/97, p.D3)(WSJ, 4/26/99, p.A16)(HN,
4/1901)(SSFC, 12/29/02, p.M2)(SSFC, 6/21/09, Books p.J5)
1827 Aug 12, William Blake
(b.1757), English visionary engraver and poet, died. In 2001 G.E.
Bentley Jr. authored "The Stranger From Paradise: A Biography of
(SSFC, 5/27/01, DB p.73)(MC, 8/12/02)
1828 May 12, Dante Gabriel
Rossetti (d.1882), English poet and painter, was born. He helped
found the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
1832 Feb 22, Johann Wolfgang
von Goethe (b.1749), poet, (Faust, Egmont) died in Weimar, Germany.
Goethe had served as minister of mines under Bismarck. He completed
"Faust" just before his death: "When Ideas fail, words come in
handy." In 1988 Kenneth Weisinger authored "The Classical Facade: A
Non-Classical Reading of Goethe's Criticism." In 2006 John Armstrong
authored “Love, Life, Goethe: How to Be Happy in an Imperfect
(SFEC, 4/26/98, Z1 p.8)(SFC, 8/7/03, p.A19)(SFC,
12/14/04, p.B1)(WSJ, 1/13/07, p.P10)
1832 Sep 21, Sir Walter Scott
(b.1771), Scottish poet and novelist, died at Abbotsford near
Melrose in the Scottish Borders. His novels included "Ivanhoe" and
"Rob Roy." Scott was later credited with inventing the genre of
historical fiction. In 2010 Stuart Kelley authored “Scott-land: The
Man Who Invented a Nation."
3/11/07, p.G3)(Econ, 7/31/10, p.67)
1833 Alexander Pushkin, Russian
poet, wrote his poem "The Bronze Horseman" (Myedny Vsadnik).
(SFEC, 6/27/99, p.T11)(WSJ, 8/5/06, p.P12)
1834 Jul 25, Samuel Taylor
Coleridge (b.1772), English poet, died. He and his friend William
Wordsworth were among the founders of the Romantic Movement in
England and later identified, along with Robert Southey, as the Lake
School of poets. Coleridge’s work included "The Rime of the Ancient
Mariner," "Frost at Midnight" and "Kubla Khan." In his later life he
authored the "Bibliographia Literaria," a work of literary theory.
In 1999 Richard Holmes published "Coleridge: Darker Reflections,
1804-1834," which focused on the poet's later life. His volume
"Coleridge: Early Visions" was published in 1989. In 2007 Adam
Sisman authored “The Friendship: Wordsworth & Coleridge."
p.A20)(WSJ, 2/20/07, p.D8)
1836 Seitnazar Seyidi (b.1775)
and Kurbandurdy Zelili (b.1780), Turkmenistan poets, died. Both are
considered to be successors of Makhtum Kuli.
1837 Tennyson (1809-1892) wrote
his poem “Locksley Hall." It included a vision of a tranquil world
“lapt in universal law." It was published as part of a collection in
1842. The poem embodied the pain of lost love and looked forward to
a time when the nations of the world would abandon war and form a
“parliament of man."
1837 The Mahavamsa ("Great
Chronicle"), a historical poem written in the Pali language of the
kings of Sri Lanka, was published by George Turnour, an historian
and officer of the Ceylon Civil Service. It covers the period from
the coming of King Vijaya of Kalinga (ancient Orissa) in 543 BCE to
the reign of King Mahasena (334–361).
1843 Mar 21, Robert W. Southey
(b.1774), British poet laureate and historian, died. In 2006 W. A.
Speck authored the biography “Robert Southey."
1844 Jul 28, Gerard Manley
Hopkins, English poet and Jesuit priest, was born.
1848 The painter-poet Josef
Victor von Scheffel published cynical poems with titles as
'Biedermann's Evening socializing' and 'Bummelmaier's Complaint' in
the Viennese satirical magazine 'Fliegende Blätter' (Flying Leaves).
These names were combined into the pseudonym 'Gottlieb Biedermaier'
by Ludwig Eichrodt, who together with Adolf Kussmaul published poems
by the schoolmaster Samuel Friedrich Sauter under this name. The
spelling finally changed into 'Biedermeier' in 1869 when Eichrodt
published 'Biedermeier's Liederlust'.
1849 Jul 22, Emma Lazarus,
American poet, was born of Sephardic Jewish parents in NYC. Her
poem, "The New Colossus," is inscribed on the base of the Statue of
(HN, 7/22/98)(SFEC, 4/30/00, BR p.2)
1850 Apr 23, William Wordsworth
(b.1770), English poet, died.
1850 Aug 22, Nikolaus Lenau
(48) (pseudonym of Nikolaus Franz Niembsch), Hungarian-born poet and
writer, died in Austria.
1850 Sep 2, Eugene Field,
author, poet and journalist, was born. His work included “Little Boy
(HN, 9/2/00)(MC, 9/2/01)
1855 Jul 4, One of America's
greatest poets -- Walt Whitman -- published the first edition of his
famous "Leaves of Grass", a collection of 12 poems. Whitman
published the edition himself and had about 1,000 copies printed. He
later recalled about the publication, "I don't think one copy was
sold, not a copy." The book was published in Philadelphia after the
Boston district attorney cited 22 passages as violating a state law
(IB, 12/7/98)(SFC, 3/3/99, Z1 p.9)
1856 Feb 17, Heinrich Heine
(b.1797), German journalist and poet, died in Paris. His prose work
included a series of travel memoirs that began in 1826 with “The
1858 Longfellow wrote his poem:
The Courtship of Miles Standish."
(WSJ, 11/24/04, p.A1)
1859 Aug 28, Leigh Hunt
(b.1784), English poet and essayist, died. In 2005 Nicholas Roe
authored “Fiery Heart: The first Life of Leigh Hunt." Anthony Holden
authored “The Wit in the Dungeon: The Life of Leigh Hunt."
(RTH, 8/28/99)(Econ, 1/29/05, p.80)
1860 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(1807-1882), published his poem “Paul Revere’s Ride," (The Midnight
Ride of Paul Revere).
1861 Mar 10, Taras Shevchenko
(b.1814), Ukraine poet and artist died. He was a member of the Sts
Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood and an academician of the Imperial
Academy of Arts.
1861 Sir Francis Turner
Palgrave (1824-1897) edited “The Golden Treasury," a 4-volume
anthology of the best songs and lyrical poems in the English
(WSJ, 1/20/07, p.P11)(WSJ, 11/15/08, p.W10)
1863 Aug 14, Ernest L. Thayer,
author of the poem "Casey at the Bat," was born.
1865 Jun 13, William Butler
Yeats (d.1939), Irish poet and playwright, was born to an
Anglo-Irish family in a Dublin suburb. He is best remembered for his
poems "Byzantium" and "Easter 1916." He won the Nobel Prize in 1923.
The first volume of his autobiography was "Reveries Over Childhood
and Youth" (1915). Richard Ellman published a biography in 1948. The
book "W.B. Yeats: A Life, Vol. 1: The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914," by
R.F. Foster covered this period of Yeats’ life. "The Lake Isle of
Innisfree" is his best known poem. "Too long a sacrifice / Can make
a stone of the heart. / O when may it suffice?"
(V.D.-H.K.p.365)(WSJ, 4/2397, p.A1)(AP,
4/29/98)(HN, 6/13/98)(SFEC, 8/8/99, p.T6)(MC, 6/13/02)
1865 Bret Harte edited the 1st
collection of California poetry from newspaper clippings of poems
compiled by Mary Tingley of San Francisco.
(SSFC, 1/4/04, p.M1)
1865-1914 The book "W.B. Yeats: A Life, Vol. 1:
The Apprentice Mage," by R.F. Foster covered this period of Yeats’
life. "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is his best known poem.
(SFEC, 7/13/97, BR p.6)
1865-1939 William Butler Yeats, Irish poet and
playwright. The first volume of his autobiography was "Reveries Over
Childhood and Youth" (1915). Richard Ellman published a biography in
1948. "Too long a sacrifice / Can make a stone of the heart. / O
when may it suffice?"
(V.D.-H.K.p.365)(WSJ, 4/2397, p.A1)(AP, 4/29/98)
1867 Aug 31, [Pierre-]Charles
Baudelaire (46), French poet (Journaux Intimes), died.
1887 Sep 7, Dame Edith Sitwell
(d.1964), English poet, was born.
1868 Aug 23, Edgar Lee Masters
(d.1950), poet, novelist, was born in Garnett, Kansas.
1869 Jul 8, William Vaughan
Moody, poet and playwright (The Great Divide), was born.
1871 Jul 3, William Henry
Davies, Welsh poet, was born.
1873 Jan 7, Charles Peguy
(d.1914), French poet and writer, was born.
1873 Jul 10, French poet Paul
Verlaine (1844-1896) wounded Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) with a
1876 Jun 10, Arthur Rimbaud
(1854-1891) embarked for the Dutch East Indies, or modern-day
Indonesia. He arrived on July 22 and on August 15 he deserted,
leaving his possessions to be sold for the benefit of the local
orphanage. He reappeared only on December 31, 1876, when he returned
to his mother in Charleville-Mezieres in northern France. Rimbaud,
who wrote the anti-militarist "The Sleeper in the Valley," had
embarked on the journey after signing up for six years in the Dutch
colonial army. In 2011 American writer Jamie James authored "Rimbaud
in Java: The Lost Voyage."
1878 Jan 8, [NS date] Russian
poet Nikolay Nekrasov (b.1821) died. He is credited with introducing
into Russian poetry ternary meters and the technique of dramatic
1882 Mar 24, Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow (b.1807), US poet (Song of Hiawatha), died. He is the
sole American honored with a bust in the Poet’s Corner of
Westminster Abbey. In 2000 J.D. McClatchy edited "Longfellow: Poems
and Other Writings."
1886 May 15, Poet Emily
Dickinson (b.1830) died in Amherst, Mass., where she had lived in
seclusion for the previous 24 years. In 2001 Alfred Habegger
authored her biography: "My Wars Are laid Away in Books." In 2008
Brenda Wineapple authored “White Heat: The Friendship of Emily
Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911). In 2010
Lyndall Gordon authored “Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and
her Family Feuds," in which he presents evidence that Dickinson
suffered from congenital epilepsy.
(AP, 5/15/97)(HN, 5/15/01)(WSJ, 11/2/01,
p.W11)(Econ, 7/26/08, p.96)
1886 “Illuminations," the final
work of Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), was published in France. By this
time he had given up on poetry to become a trader in Africa.
(Econ, 6/25/11, p.98)
1887 Aug 3, Rupert Brooke
(d.1915), English poet who mainly wrote about World War I, was born:
"Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night."
(AP, 2/20/98)(HN, 8/3/98)
1878 Jun 12, William Cullen
Bryant (b.1794), American poet and journalist, died. He wrote the
bulk of his poem “Thanatopsis" while still a teenager in
Massachusetts. In 2008 Gilbert H. Muller authored “William Cullen
Bryant: Author of America."
1887 Mar 31, John Godfrey Saxe
(b.1816), American poet, died. In 1969 he was quoted saying: “Laws,
like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how
they are made." His poems included “The Blind Men and the Elephant"
1889 Jun 15, Mihai Eminescu,
born in 1850 as Mihail Eminovici, died in Bucharest. He was a
Romantic poet, novelist and journalist, and often regarded as the
most famous and influential Romanian poet.
1889 Dec, The poem Clancy of
the Overflow by Banjo Paterson 1st appeared in the Christmas edition
of Australia’s Bulletin magazine.
(NG, 8/04, p.10)
1891 Nov 10, J.N. Arthur
Rimbaud (b.1854), French poet and arms merchant (Saison en Enfer),
died in Marseille after doctors amputated his leg. In 1961 Enid
Starkie authored a biography. In 2000 Graham Robb authored
"Rimbaud." Rimbaud stopped writing poetry at age 21 and ended his
last years in Africa as an arms dealer. In 2008 Edmund White
authored “Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel."
(WUD, 1994 p.1234)(HN, 10/20/00)(SFC, 2/12/02,
p.D3)(Econ, 10/11/08, p.115)
1893 Aug 22, Dorothy Parker
(d.1967), poet, satirist, screenwriter and founding member of the
Algonquin Round Table, was born in West Bend, N.J. "Authors and
actors and artists and such / Never know nothing, and never know
(AP, 8/22/97)(HN, 8/22/02)
1893 Jul 19, Vladimir
Mayakovsky, Russian poet, was born.
1894 Jul 18, Charles Marie
Leconte de Lisle (born 1818), French poet, died.
(MC, 7/18/02)(WUD, 1994, p.817)
1894 French poet Pierre Louys
(1870-1925) authored “The Songs of Bilitis" (1894) a book of lesbian
1895 Jul 24, Robert Graves
(d.1985), British poet and novelist (Goodbye to All That, I
Claudius), was born. "There's no money in poetry, but then there's
no poetry in money either."
(AP, 4/8/99)(HN, 7/24/02)(Econ, 8/17/13, p.71)
1895 Banjo Paterson wrote his
poem Waltzing Matilda while on holiday in Queensland. The name
referred to a slang term for drifting around the outback with a
bedroll (your matilda) slung over the shoulder. Christina Macpherson
adopted the poem to the Scottish tune “Thou Bonnie Wood o’
(NG, 8/04, p.24)
1896 Irish poet W.B. Yeats met
Irish playwright John Millington Synge in Paris and suggested Synge
go and live on the Aran Islands. Synge took his advice and spent
years there developing a whole new language for his plays. Synge
also spent time on Great Blasket. In 2012 Robert Kanigel authored
“On an Irish Island."
(SSFC, 3/11/12, p.F5)
1898 Jul 22, Stephen Vincent
Benet, poet and short-story writer, author of John Brown's Body, was
1898 Aug 24, Malcolm Cowley,
poet and translator, literary critic and social historian was born.
He wrote "The Dream of the Golden Mountains."
1899 Jul 21, Poet Hart Crane
was born in Garrettsville, Ohio.
1899 Aug 24, Jorge Luis Borges
(d.1986), Argentine poet and philosophical essayist, was born in
(WUD, 1994, p.171)(WSJ, 9/21/98, p.A26)(AP,
1899 Rudyard Kipling authored
his poem “The White Man’s Burden."
(SSFC, 5/8/05, p.B1)
1902 Feb 1, Langston Hughes,
African-American poet, was born in Joplin, Mo. His books included
“Way Down South."
(HN, 2/1/99)(SSFC, 7/25/04, p.F3)
1902 Sep 29, William McGonagall
(b~1825), poet, died in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was mocked by
literary critics and had food thrown at him during public readings.
He died penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave. Critics later
awarded him the "world's worst" label because of the crashing lack
of subtlety in terms of rhyme, imagery, vocabulary or repetition.
His most famous poem is about the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879, in
which 75 people died. In 2008 35 broadsheets of his original poems
were auctioned for $13,200.
1904 Jul 12, Pablo Neruda
(d.1973), Chilean poet and political activist (Residence on
Earth-Nobel 1971), was born as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto in
(HN, 7/12/01)(SFC, 7/15/04, p.E11)
1905 Jul 29, Stanley Kunitz,
poet, was born.
1906 Feb 9, Poet Paul Laurence
Dunbar (33), son of former slaves, died of TB in his hometown of
(AH, 2/06, p.15)
1906 Aug 28, John Betjeman
(d.1984), poet laureate of England (1972-1984), was born.
1907 Sep, The Cosmopolitan
magazine published the epic poem “A Wine of Wizardry" by George
Sterling (1869-1926). The poem and accompanying essay by Ambrose
Bierce sparked critical reaction across the continent. Sterling,
Jack London’s best friend, was the scion of a Long Island whaling
family and worked in an East Bay real estate firm.
(SSFC, 12/23/07, p.M4)
1908 May 25, Theodore Roethke
(d.1963), American poet, was born in Saginaw, Mich.
(AP, 5/25/08)(MT, Summer 01, p.3)
1909 Feb 20, F.T. Marinetti
(1876-1944), Italian poet, published the 1st Futurist Manifesto in
the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. It included statements such as “We
want to glorify war - the only cure for the world…" and We intend to
sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness."
(www.unknown.nu/futurism/)(SFEC, 1/3/99, DB
p.27)(WSJ, 10/23/08, p.A15)(Econ, 2/22/14, p.71)
1911 Jun 30, Czeslaw Milosz
(d.2004), Polish poet and critic and Nobel winner, was born in
Lithuania. In 2001 his Polish "Milosz’s ABC’s" was published in
(SFC, 3/21/01, p.C1)(HN, 6/30/01)
1912 Max Beerbohm (1872-1956),
English essayist, published “A Christmas Garland," a collection of
17 poetic parodies with a Christmas theme.
1912 Harriet Monroe, former
Chicago Tribune art critic, founded the monthly Poetry Magazine. In
2002 Ruth Lilly (87), great-grandchild of Eli Lilly, gave the
magazine a $100 million endowment.
(SFC, 11/19/02, p.A3)
1913 Feb 13, Joaquin Miller
(b.1837), known as the "poet of the Sierras," died in Oakland, Ca.
Miller had sponsored California’s 1st Arbor Day. His work included
"Utopia" (1880) and “Life amongst the Modocs : unwritten history"
(1873), an autobiographical novel first published in London. Miller
was born as Cincinnatus Hiner Miller near Liberty, Indiana. His
secret "California Diary" was unearthed 25 years after his death. In
1919 Oakland purchased his property and in 1928 turned it into a
park combined with adjacent undeveloped tracts.
p.48)(SSFC, 1/14/07, p.B3)(SSFC, 6/16/13, DB p.17)
1914 Sep 5, Charles Peguy
(d.1914), French poet and writer, died. "It is impossible to write
ancient history because we lack source materials, and impossible to
write modern history because we have far too many."
1915 Ina Coolbrith (1841-1928),
born as Josephine Donna Smith, became California’s first poet
1915 Hans Leip, in training for
the Prussian Guard, authored the poem “Song of a Young Sentry." It
reflected his recent meetings with two women named Lili and Marlene.
In 1938 Norbert Schultze of Berlin put it to music. The composition
was then recorded by cabaret chanteuse Lale Anderson and became
hugely as the song “Lili Marlene." In 2008 Liel Leibovitz and
Matthew Miller authored “Lili Marlene: The Soldier’s Song of World
(WSJ, 11/8/08, p.W8)
1915-1939 The book "W.B. Yeats: A Life, Vol. 2:
The Arch Poet," by R.F. Foster covered this period of Yeats’ life.
(WSJ, 11/13/03, p.D8)
1916 Feb 6, Ruben Dario
(b.1867), Nicaraguan poet, died. Dario, one of Nicaragua's
best-known poets, is considered the father of the Modernismo
1916 Jul 4, Poet Alan Seeger
died in action at Befloy-en-Santerre. He had enlisted into the
French Foreign Legion at the outset of WW I. He wrote the lines: I
have a rendezvous with death / At some disputed barricade..."
(SFEC, 3/16/97, Z1 p.2)
1917 Apr 9, Edward Thomas
(b.1878), British writer and poet, was killed in action during the
Battle of Arras. His travel books included “The Icknield Way." In
2012 Matthew Hollis authored “Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last
Years of Edward Thomas."
1917 TS Eliot (1888-1965)
authored his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
1917 Harriet Monroe and Alice
Corbin Henderson edited “The New Poetry," an anthology of
(WSJ, 11/15/08, p.W10)
1918 Jan 28, Lieutenant Colonel
John McCrae (b.1872), Canadian MD and author of the poem Flanders
Field (1915), died.
1918 Apr 1, Isaac Rosenberg
(b.1890), British WWI war poet, died near Arras, France, during
Ludendorff’s big spring offensive. In 2008 Jean Moorcroft Wilson
authored “Isaac Rosenberg: The Making of a Great War Poet."
(WSJ, 4/3/09, p.W6)
1918 Jul 30, Poet Joyce Kilmer
(b.1886), a sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, was killed
during the Second Battle of the Marne in World War I. Kilmer is
perhaps best remembered for his poem "Trees."
1920 Aug 16, Charles Bukowski,
poet and novelist, was born.
1921 Ezra Pound edited “The
Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot.
(Econ, 12/4/04, p.85)
1922 Jul 17, Donald Davie,
English poet and literary critic, was born.
1922 Feb, Ernest Hemingway met
poet Ezra Pound in a Paris bookstore. Pound was one of the founders
of a school of poetry called Imagism.
(ON, 7/05, p.9)
1922 Henry Lawson (b.1867),
Australian poet, died.
(NG, 8/04, p.1)
1924 May 12, Russian-American
poet Alexander Esenin-Volpin was born in Leningrad. A notable
dissident, political prisoner and a leader of the Soviet human
rights movement, he spent total of fourteen years incarcerated and
repressed by the Soviet authorities in prisons, psikhushkas and
1925 Jul 17, Laszlo Nagy,
Hungarian poet, was born.
1926 Nov 17, George Sterling
(d.1926), California poet and critic, committed suicide by swallowed
cyanide in the locker room of the Bohemian Club on Taylor Street in
SF. His wife had committed suicide by poison in 1918.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Sterling)(SFC, 11/16/01, WB
1926 California poet Lew Welch
(SFC, 12/9/03, p.D1)
1927 Jul 28, John Ashbery,
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet (Self-Portrait in a Convict's Mirror),
1928 Apr 4, Maya Angelou
(d.2014), American poet, was born.
(HN, 4/4/98)(Econ, 6/7/14, p.98)
1928 Philip Levine, poet, was
born in Detroit, Mich. He spent a good portion of his life teaching
poetry in Fresno, Ca.
(SFC, 10/19/04, p.E1)
1929 Jul 15, Hugo Von
Hofmannsthal, playwright, poet, died.
1930 Mar 26, Gregory Corso,
beat poet (Happy Birthday of Death, Long Live Man), was born. He
discovered literature in prison.
(HN, 3/26/01)(SS, 3/26/02)
1930 Aug 16, Ted Hughes,
English poet laureate, was born.
1931 Nov 19, Xu Zhimo (34),
Chinese poet, was killed in a plane crash while flying from Nanjing
to Beijing. He left behind four collections of verse and several
volumes of translations from various languages. His poem “On Leaving
Cambridge" made famous a willow tree on the ground’s of King’s
1932 Apr 27, American poet Hart
Crane (b.1899) drowned after jumping from a steamer while en route
to New York. In 1967 R.W.B. Lewis (d. 2002) authored "The
Poetry of Hart Crane."
(AP, 4/27/97)(SFC, 6/17/02, p.B5)
1933 Apr 29, Constantine Cavafy
(b.1863), Greek poet, died in Alexandria, Egypt. The 1996 Greek film
"Cavafy" was a profile of the Greek homosexual poet, and a winner of
Greece’s National Film Award for best feature of the year. Cavafy
spent 30 years working as a clerk in the Ministry of Irrigation. In
2006 “The Collected Poems of C.P. Cavafy," translated by Aliki
Barstone, was published.
(SFC, 6/18/98, p.E4)(SSFC, 6/24/01, DB
1933 Jul 18, Yevgeny
Yevtushenko, Russian poet, was born in Zima, Russia.
(HN, 7/18/01)(MC, 7/18/02)
1934 Apr 11, Mark Strand
(b.1934), Canadian poet, was born. He became the fourth national
poet laureate in 1990, and received dozens of angry letters when he
announced that he would not write any poems for national public
figures, even if the president's dog died. "Poetry is about slowing
down. You sit and you read something, you read it again, and it
reveals a little bit more, and things come to light you never could
1934 Sep 9, Sonia Sanchez,
poet, was born in Birmingham, Alabama.
1935 Apr 6, Edwin Arlington
Robinson (b.1869), US poet, died. In 2006 Scott Donaldson authored
“Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Poet’s Life."
1935 Sep 10, Mary Oliver,
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, was born in maple Heights, Ohio.
1935 Nov 30, Fernando Pessoa
(b.1888), Portuguese poet, died.
1936 Jun 14, G.K. Chesterton
(b.1874), English poet-essayist, died at his home in Beaconsfield,
England. His poems included “The Secret People" (1915). As president
of the Distributist League, he promoted the idea that private
property should be divided into smallest possible freeholds and then
distributed throughout society.
1936 Aug 16, Spanish poet
Garcia Lorca was arrested in Granada. He disappeared shortly
thereafter. The 1997 film "The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca" was an
attempt to depict the circumstances of his disappearance. Lorca was
the author of "Gypsy Ballads," "Blood Wedding" and "The Poet."
Spanish poet Fredico Garcia Lorca was shot by Franco's troops after
being forced to dig his own grave.
(LVRJ, 11/1/97, p.12B)(HN, 8/19/98)(MT, Spg. ‘99,
1936 A poetry movement called
“the Activists" began in the SF Bay Area. It was led by Lawrence
Hart (1900-1996). The movement faded with the rise of the Beat Poets
in the 1950s.
(SSFC, 9/4/05, p.F3)
1938 Mar 1, Gabriele
d’Annunzio, Italian poet, writer and political leader, died. In 2013
Lucy Hughes-Hallett authored “The Pike: Gabriele d’Annunzio: Poet
Seducer and Preacher of War."
1938 Dec 27, Osip Mandelstam
(b.1891), Russian poet born in Poland to Jewish parents, died while
in transit to a labor camp. In 1998 Emma Gerstein authored “Moscow
Memoirs: Memories of Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam and Literary
Russia Under Stalin." An English translation by John Crowfoot became
available in 2004.
1938 Cesar Vallejo (b.1892),
Peruvian poet, died. His 1918 book "The Black Heralds" was
translated into English in 2003 by Rebecca Seiferle.
(SSFC, 12/28/03, p.M4)
1939 Jul 27, Michael Longley,
Irish poet, was born.
1939 W.H. Auden (1907-1973),
Anglo-American poet, authored his poem “Epitaph on a Tyrant."
(Econ, 9/4/10, p.91)
1940 Sep 26, W.H. Davies
(b.1871), a Welsh poet, died in England. He had lived the life of a
hobo in America and authored “Autobiography of a Supertramp" (1908).
1941 Feb 5, Andrew Barton
"Banjo" Paterson (b.1864), Australian poet and journalist, died. He
is best known for his song “Waltzing Matilda."
1941 Aug 31, Marina Tsvetaeva
(b.1892), a Russian and Soviet poet and writer, died. She
wrote six plays in verse and narrative poems, including The Tsar
Maiden (1920), and her epic about the Civil War, The Swans'
Encampment, which glorified those who fought against the communists.
1944 Jun, Frank Thompson (23),
British soldier and poet, was captured and executed in Bulgaria. In
2012 Peter Conradi authored “A Very English Hero: The Making of
(Economist, 9/8/12, p.82)
1944 Violet Kazue de Cristoforo
(1917-2007), California poet, authored “Poetic Reflections of the
Tule Lake Internment Camp." She was interned from 1942-1946.
(SFC, 10/9/07, p.B5)
1944 Allen Ginsberg and Jack
Kerouac met on the campus of Columbia Univ. in NYC. In 2010 Bill
Morgan and David Stanford published the edited letters of Ginsberg
and Kerouac. Bill Morgan authored “The Typewriter Is Holy: The
Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation."
(SSFC, 7/18/10, p.F12)
1945 Jul 20, Paul Valery
(b.1871), French poet (Le cimetiere Marin, Mon Faust), died at age
73. He was buried in his home town of Sete.
(SSFC, 6/17/01, p.T10)(MC, 7/20/02)
1945 Adam Zagajewski, poet, was
born in Poland. In 1988 he began teaching at the Univ. of Houston as
well as in Krakow. His books included “A Defense of Ardor," a
collection of essays translated to English in 2004.
(SSFC, 11/28/04, p.E2)
1946 Jul 27, Gertrude Stein
(72), US-French author, poet (Ida, Tender Buttons), died in France.
Her work included the murder mystery "Blood on the Dining-Room
Floor" and “The Biography of Alice B. Toklas" (1933). She once said
of Oakland, Ca.: "There is no there there." Painter Francis Rose
carved the headstone on her grave at the Pere Lachaise cemetery. A
biography of Stein by Linda Wagner-Martin was published in 1996
titled "Favored Strangers." In 2007 Janet Malcolm authored “Two
Lives: Gertrude and Alice."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Stein)(SFC, 6/9/96, Z1
p.5)(WSJ, 10/5/99, p.A24)(WSJ, 9/25/07, p.D6)
1947 Paula von Preradovic,
Austrian poet, wrote a new Austrian anthem after the old one was
pinched by the Germans.
(Econ, 11/24/07, SR p.3)
1948 Jun 4, Hugh Kenner (d.2003
at 80) met for the 1st time with Ezra Pound in a Washington-area
mental facility. Pound became his mentor and directed him in a
number of literary efforts. In 1951 Kenner turned his thesis into
the book: "The Poetry of Ezra Pound." In 1971 Kenner authored "The
(SSFC, 11/30/03, p.A31)
1949 Zang Kejia (d.2004 at 99),
poet, edited the "Selected Poems of Chairman Mao."
(SFC, 2/7/04, p.A20)
1950 Feb 20, Dylan Thomas
arrived in NYC for his 1st US poetry reading tour.
1952 Aug 28, Rita Dove,
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, was born.
1953 Nov 9, Welsh author-poet
Dylan Thomas died in New York at age 39 during his poetry-reading
blitz of the US. In 1955 John Malcolm Brinnin (d.1998 at 81), the
man who brought Thomas to America, published "Dylan Thomas in
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.T5)(AP, 11/9/97)(SFC, 6/29/98,
1953 Czeslaw Milosz, émigré
Polish poet, published “The Captive Mind," in which he unpicked the
mangling effects of communist thought.
(Econ, 8/1/09, p.76)
1954 San Francisco State Prof.
Ruth Witt-Diamant founded a Poetry Center at SF State.
(SFC, 2/19/04, p.E1)
1954 Strickland Gillilan
(b.1869), American poet, died. His poems included "The Reading
Mother." "...Richer than I your can never be / I had a mother who
read to me."
(SSFC, 4/25/04, p.M6)
1955 Oct 7, Allen Ginsberg
(1926-1997) his 3,600-word "Howl" at the Six Gallery at 3119
Fillmore. Kenneth Rexroth was the host. Jack Kerouac and Lawrence
Ferlinghetti were in the audience. Other readers included Philip
Lamantia, Philip Whalen, Michael McClure and Gary Snyder. The
Gallery was run as a co-op by poet Robert Duncan, his lover Jess
(Burgess Collins) and another artist. In 2004 Jonah Raskin authored
"American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and the Making of the Beat
Generation." In 2006 Jason Shinder edited “The Poem That Changed
(SFEC, 8/29/99, p.D7)(SFC, 10/28/00, p.D1)(SSFC,
4/4/04, p.M2)(SSFC, 4/16/06, p.M3)
1956 Sep 21, Anastasio Somoza
Garcia (b.1896), Nicaraguan dictator, was shot by poet Rigoberto
Lopez Perez. He died on Sep 29 after being sent to a Panama Canal
1956 Lawrence Ferlinghetti
published a 1st edition of "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. The 1st 1000
copies were printed in Europe and passed Customs without incident.
1957 Mar 25, US Police and
customs agents seized copies of “Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. In May
Ferlinghetti was arrested along with City Lights manager Shigeyoshi
Murao (d.1999) on obscenity charges. The defending attorneys were
J.W. Ehrlich and Albert Bendich (1929-2015). By the Fall Judge
Clayton Horn found the poem of "redeeming social importance." Shig
later managed City Lights and authored the occasional "Shig's
Review." In 2006 Bill Morgan and Nancy J. Peters edited “Howl On
Trial: The Battle for Free Expression."
(SFEC, 11/28/99, BR
p.M3)(SFC, 1/14/15, p.D3)
1957 Ted Hughes (1930-1998),
British poet, published his first book of poetry "Hawk in the Rain."
It re-defined the shape of post-war English poetry.
(SFC, 10/30/98, p.A17)(Econ, 11/8/03, p.83)
1958 Jun 28, Alfred Noyes (77),
British poet, essayist (Robin Hood, The Highwayman), died.
1958 In China Ai Qing
(1910-1996), a poet, was denounced as a rightist and spent the next
18 years in hard labor in the Xinjiang region. His son Ai Weiwei
(b.1957), later became renowned as an artist and political
1960 Jan, The San Francisco
Examiner (a Hearst newspaper) offered Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982) a
job writing a weekly column. He accepted and by May 1961 the column
had proved popular enough that he was asked to do two and sometimes
even three per week. Rexroth wrote some 700 columns for the Examiner
until June 1967, when he was fired after writing a particularly
scathing article about the American police.
1960 Alexis Saint-Leger
(1887-1975), Guadeloupe-born French poet and diplomat, won the Nobel
Prize for literature. He wrote under the pseudonym Saint John Perse.
1961 Sep, Yevgeny Yevtushenko
(b.1933), Russian poet, published his poem “Babi Yar" at the height
of the Khrushchev thaw. It recalled the 1941 massacre of over 33,000
Jews at ravine in Kiev, Ukraine.
1962 Sep 3, e[dward] e cummings
(ee cummings), US poet (Tulips & Chimneys), died at 67.
1962 Alan Dugan (1923-2003) won
the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his book "Poems." At
the time Dugan worked in a factory where he made plastic vaginas
used to demonstrate diaphragm insertion.
(SSFC, 9/7/03, p.A29)
1963 Jan 29, Poet Robert Frost
(b.1874) died in Boston at age 88. In 1999 Jay Parini published
"Robert Frost: A Life." Lawrance Thompson authored a 3-volume
(AP, 1/29/98)(SFEC, 4/18/99, BR p.3)
1963 Feb 11, Sylvia Plath (30),
American writer, committed suicide by gas in London after Ted Hughes
left her for another woman. Her autobiographical novel "The Bell
Jar" was published this year. She had been married to English poet
Ted Hughes (d.1998), who in 1998 published a 198 page book of verse
"Birthday Letters" based on their relationship. The woman for whom
Hughes left Plath committed suicide 5 years later. Plath’s 1981
"Collected Poems" won a Pulitzer Prize. The Plath book of poems
"Ariel" was published after her death. In 2000 her uncensored
diaries: "The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath," were edited by
Karen V. Kukil. Carl Rollyson authored “American Isis: The Life and
Art of Sylvia Plath" (2013). Andrew Wilson authored “Mad Girl’s Love
Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted" (2013).
(SFC, 1/19/98, p.A10)(SFEC, 2/1/98, p.C5)(SFEC,
3/26/00, p.A25)(SFEC, 11/12/00, BR p.1)(SSFC, 2/17/13, p.F5)(Econ,
1963 Mar 4, William Carlos
Williams (b.1883), American physician and poet, died in Rutherford,
NJ. In 2011 Herbert Leibowitz authored “Something Urgent I Have to
Say to You": The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams.
1963 Sep 3, Louis MacNeice
(b.1907), northern Irish poet, died. His name was often subsumed
under the collective name of Macspaunday, which referred to the
generation of politically-committed 1930s poets: MacNeice, Stephen
Spender, W.H. Auden and C. Day-Lewis. MacNeice’s collected poems
were published in 2007.
1963 Giorgos Seferis
(1900-1971), Turkish-born Greek poet, won the Nobel Prize in
Literature. Seferis was the pen name of Georgios Seferiades
1963 Nazim Hikmet (b.1902),
Salonika-born Turkish poet, died in Moscow.
1964 Dec 9, Dame Edith Sitwell
(d.1964), English poet, died. "Good taste is the worst vice ever
invented." A book of her collected poems was published in 2006. In
2011 Richard Greene authored “Edith Sitwell: Avant Garde Poet,
7/22/06, p.P10)(Econ, 2/19/11, p.94)
1964 George Hitchcock
(1914-2010), poet and playwright, founded the Kayak poetry magazine
in San Francisco. He continued publishing it until 1984 after 64
(SSFC, 9/5/10, p.C9)
1965 Jan 4, T.S. Eliot, English
poet, died in London at age 76. In 1995 Anthony Julius published
"T.S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism and Literary Form." Julius was the lawyer
who won a divorce settlement of $23 million for Princess Diana in
1996. "Little Gidding" is an Eliot work. In 2015 Robert Crawford
authored “Young Eliot: From St. Louis to The Waste Land."
(SFC, 7/17/96, p.E6)(NH, 8/96, p.57)(AP,
1/4/98)(Econ., 2/14/15, p.74
1966 Mar 5, Anna Akhmatova,
Russian poet, died in Leningrad. She was born in 1889 as Anna
Gorenko near Odessa, Ukraine. In 2005 Elaine Feinstein authored
“Anna of All the Russias: A Life of Anna Akhmatova.
1966 Lenore Kandel (1932-2009),
NYC-born SF poet, published “The Love Book." It was deemed
pornographic and SF police raided the Psychedelic Shop on Haight
Street where it was sold. Kandel, born of Russian and Mongol
parents, was portrayed as Romana Swartz in Jack Kerouac’s 1962 novel
(SFC, 10/22/09, p.D6)
1967 May 12, English poet
laureate John Masefield died.
1967 May 22, J. Langston Hughes
(b.1902), poet laureate, US author (Tambourines to Glory), died of
complications following surgery at NY Polyclinic Hospital.
(SSFC, 7/25/04, p.F3)
1967 Jun 7, Author-critic
Dorothy Parker (b.1893), famed for her caustic wit, died in NYC. The
1994 film "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" starred Jennifer
Jason Leigh as the poet Dorothy Parker. It covered 25 years of
Parker's life. She left most of her estate to Martin Luther King,
(AP, 6/7/97)(SFEC, 8/23/98, DB p.43)(SFEC,
9/19/99, Z1 p.3)
1967 Jul 20, Pablo Neruda
received the 1st Viareggio-Versile prize.
1967 Jul 22, Carl Sandburg
(89), historian and poet (Abraham Lincoln: Prairie Years), died in
1967 Aug 31, Ilya G. Ehrenburg
(76), Russian poet and propagandist ("Russians, get your German!"),
1967 Sep 1, Siegfried Sassoon
(b.1886), WW I English soldier poet, died. His books included
“Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man" (1928). In 2005 Max Egremont authored
the biography: “Siegfried Sassoon."
1968 Aug 13, In Greece there
was an assassination attempt against Col. George Papadopoulos
(1919-1999), the right-wing military leader, organized by Alexandros
Panagoulis (1939-1976), Greek politician and poet.
1969 May 4, F. Osbert S.
Sitwell (b.1892), English poet (Who Killed Cock Robin?), died at
castle Montegufoni near Florence, Italy.
1970 Jan 10, Charles Olson
(b.1910), American poet, died in NYC. Volume Three of his Maximus
Poems appeared posthumously in 1975.
1970 Dec 31, Lorine Niedecker
(b.1903), died. She was a Wisconsin-born objectivist-influenced
(SFEC, 4/23/00, BR
1971 May 23, In California poet
Lou Welch (b.1926) walked away from Gary Snider’s residence in the
Sierra foothills and was never seen again.
1971 Sep 20, George Seferis
(b.1900), Nobel Prize-winning (1963) Greek poet, died. In 2003
Roderick Beaton authored "George Seferis - Waiting for the Angel: A
(HN, 3/13/01)(Econ, 11/22/03,
1971 Anne Sexton (1928-1974),
American poet and writer, authored "Transformations." It retold
classic fairy stories with a Freudian twist and personal references
and formed the basis for Conrad Susa’s 1973 opera of the same name.
Diane Middlebrook wrote "Anne Sexton: A Biography" in 1991.
(WSJ, 7/2/97, p.A12)(SFC, 6/23/98,
1971-1973 Josephine Jacobsen (d.2003), poet,
writer and critic, was appointed consultant in poetry to the US
Library of Congress.
(SSFC, 7/13/03, p.A27)
1972 Jan 7, Poet John Berryman
(b.1914), US poet (Imaginary Jew), leaped to his death from a bridge
above the Mississippi River. He was teaching a graduate course at
the Univ. of Minnesota on America’s character as revealed by its
poets. Carl Rakosi took over the class. His former wife, Eileen
Simpson, died in 2002. Simpson authored her memoir "Poets in Their
Youth" in 1982.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Berryman)(SFEC, 4/23/00, BR
p.1)(SFC, 10/26/02, p.A24)
1972 Jan 8, Kenneth Patchen
(b.1911), American poet, died in Palo Alto, Ca. He was bed-ridden in
his later years from a debilitating spinal injury. His works
included "Before the Brave" and "Hurrah for Anything."
(HN, 12/13/99)(SFC, 3/24/00,
1972 Feb 5, Marianne Moore
(b.1887), American poet, died in NYC. Her longest work was the 1923
poem "Marriage." In 1998 her the book: "The Selected letters of
Marianne Moore" was edited by Bonnie Costello, Celeste Goodridge and
Cristanne Miller. In 2013 Linda Leavell authored “Holding On Upside
Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore."
p.A7)(Econ, 11/23/13, p.83)
1972 Nov 1, Ezra Pound
(b.1885), American poet, died in Italy. In 2007 A. David Moody
authored “Ezra Pound: Poet: The Young Genius 1885-1920."
1973 Aug 17, Conrad Aiken
(b.1889), American Pulitzer winning poet and novelist, died.
1973 Sep 23, Pablo Neruda
(b.1904), Chilean Nobel laureate poet, died of alleged leukemia. One
of his last works, "The Book of Questions," was published in an
English translation in 1991. In 2003 Ilan Stavans edited "The Poetry
of Pablo Neruda." In 2004 Matilda Urrutia’s “My Life With Pablo
Neruda" was translated into English. Neruda’s driver later said the
poet was poisoned by government agents.
(SFEC, 6/25/00, BR p.2)(SSFC, 8/31/03,
p.M3)(SSFC, 10/31/04, p.M4)(SFC, 6/1/11, p.A2)
1973 Herbert Leibowitz,
Manhattan literary critic and college professor, founded Parnassus,
a poetry journal. In 2007 he planned his last issue.
(WSJ, 1/25/07, p.D12)
1974 Jan 13, Salvador Novo
(b.1904), gay Mexican writer, poet and official chronicler of Mexico
1974 Oct 4, Anne Sexton
(b.1928), American poet, committed suicide in Massachusetts. In 1991
Diane Middlebrook (1939-2007), authored “Anne Sexton: A Biography."
1974 Berdy Kerbabaev (b.1894),
a Turkmenistan poet, novelist and playwright, died. He was one of
the most noticeable Turkmen writers of the Soviet period.
1975 May 10, In El Salvador
leftist poet and novelist Roque Dalton (b.1937) was executed by a
group of commandos. In 2010 his relatives petitioned prosecutors to
file homicide charges against two ex-rebel commanders, who they
claim participated in the decision to kill the writer. The complaint
named former Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front leader
Joaquin Villalobos and Jorge Melendez, who serves in the current
government as head of the civil defense office. In 2012 a judge
closed the case ruling it's too late for a prosecution.
1975 Oct, Eugenio Montale
(1896-1981), Italian poet, won the Nobel Prize for Literature. In
1999 two collections of his poetry were translated and published in
English: Collected Poems 1920-1954" and "Satura 1962-1970."
(SFEC, 2/28/99, BR p.8)
1975 Nov 1, Pier Paolo Pasolini
(b.1922), Italian poet, author and director was murdered. A young
male prostitute was tried and convicted for the murder in 1976.
1977 Sep 12, Robert Lowell
(b.1917), US poet (Near the Ocean), died of a heart attack in NYC.
In 2003 Frank Bidart and David Gewanter edited "Robert Lowell:
Collected Poems." In 2005 Saskia Hamilton edited “The Letters of
p.M6)(Econ, 7/25/05, p.73)
1977 Polish poet Stanislaw
Baranczak co-founded the Workers' Defense Committee (KOR), following
a brutal communist crackdown on protesting workers. For his activity
he was fired from his job at the Adam Mickiewicz University in his
native Poznan and his writings were barred from print in Poland. In
1981 he got a three-year contract as lecturer at Harvard but stayed
1977 Vicente Aleixandre
(1898-1984), Spanish poet, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1979 Feb 9, Allen Tate
(b.1899), poet and exponent of the New Criticism, died in Nashville.
(WSJ, 8/2/08, p.W9)(http://tinyurl.com/5g27ry)
1979 Aug 28, Konstantin Simonov
(b.1915), Russian war correspondent and poet, died in Moscow. His
poems included “Wait For Me" (1942).
1979 Jul 16, Nguyen Chi Thien
(1939-2012), Vietnamese poet, managed to pass 400 of his poems to
the British ambassador in Hanoi before being arrested. They were
later published as “Flowers of Hell" and won for him the Int’l.
Poetry Award in 1985.
(Economist, 10/13/12, p.114)
1979 Oct 6, Elizabeth Bishop
(b.1911), American poet, died. She had spent 17 years in Brazil and
won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1956. In 2008 Thomas Travisano
and Saskia Hamilton edited “Words in Air: The Complete
Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell." In 2010
Michael Sledge authored a novel, “The More I Owe You," based on her
1979 Odysseus Elytis
(1911-1996), Greek poet, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1980 Feb 25, Robert Hayden,
American poet and educator, died in Ann Arbor, Mich. Hayden had
studied under W.H. Auden at the Univ. of Michigan. In 1976 Pres.
Gerald Ford appointed him the 1st African-American consultant in
poetry to the Library of Congress, a post that later became known as
1982 Jan 17, Varlan Shalamov,
Russian writer, journalist, poet and Gulag survivor, died in Moscow.
1984 Apr 15, William Empson
(b.1926), English literary critic and poet, died. His 1950 book,
“Seven Types of Ambiguity," changed literary criticism. In 2005 John
Haffenden authored “William Empson: Volume I, Among the Mandarins."
In 2006 Haffenden completed Vol II, “William Empson: Against the
1984 May 19, John Betjeman
(b.1906), British poet, died. In 2004 Bevis Hillier authored a
3-volume biography of Betjeman. In 2006 A.N. Wilson authored a
single volume biography.
1984 The Library of Congress
renamed the position of Consultant in Poetry to the title Poet
Laureate of the US Library of Congress. The title of the
consultant's position was officially changed by Public Law 99-194 to
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry on Dec 20, 1985.
1985 Nov 17, Gheorghe Emil Ursu
(b.1926), Romanian construction engineer, poet, diarist and
dissident, died after being beaten for weeks by police. Security
police had raided his home and discovered his diary, in which he had
joted down scathing secret poems by Nina Cassian about Nicolae
Ceausescu self-importance and stupidity.
1985 Dec 2, Philip Larkin
(b.1922), English poet, died of esophageal cancer. He had received
the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1965. His books included “High
Windows" (1974). In 2012 “The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin,"
edited by Archie Burnett, was published.
(WSJ, 12/8/07, p.W18)(Econ, 1/21/12, p.94)(Econ,
1985 Dec 20, The passage of US
Public Law 99-194 established the position of American Poet
Laureate. In 1986 Robert Penn Warren became designated as the 1st
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
1986 Jan, Bob Kaufman, Beat
poet, died in San Francisco at 60. He was born in New Orleans and
had been called the "black American Rimbaud." His work includes
"Cranial Guitar." Much of his work was preserved due to the
diligence of his wife Eileen. Kaufman took a vow of silence after
the assassination of John F. Kennedy and began speaking again after
the Vietnam war ended. His last year was spent under the care of his
friend Lyn Wildey.
(SFC, 7/6/96, p.A15)(SFC, 7/20/96,
1986 Feb 26, Pulitzer
Prize-winning poet and author Robert Penn Warren was named the first
poet laureate of the US by Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin.
Warren was awarded the post of US poet laureate consultant to the
Library of Congress as the name was changed from consultant in
(SSFC, 7/13/03, p.A27)(AP, 2/26/06)
1986 Jul 25, Marc Smith, NYC
construction worker turned poet, held the first poetry slam at the
Green Mill jazz club in Chicago. He pitted writers against one
another in a test of writing skills and performance.
1987 Oct 22, Nobel prize for
literature was awarded to Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996). At an
interview in the Stockholm airport, to a question: "You are an
American citizen who is receiving the Prize for Russian-language
poetry. Who are you, an American or a Russian?", he responded: "I am
1988 Feb 3, Robert Duncan,
American poet, died. He and his partner Jess Collins (d.2004) along
with Harry Jacobus founded the King Ubu Gallery in SF in 1953.
1988 Aug 2, Raymond Carver
(b.1938), poet, short story writer (Furious Season), died.
1989 Sep 15, Pulitzer
Prize-winning author Robert Penn Warren (b.1905), the first poet
laureate of the United States, died in Stratton, Vt., at age 84. He
authored 16 poetry collections and 10 novels that included the 1946
"All the King’s Men."
(WSJ, 2/27/97, p.A15)(AP, 9/14/99)
1990 Seamus Heaney (b.1939),
Nobel Prize winning poet (1995), wrote the play "The Cure at Troy"
based on Sophocles’ play "Philoctetes."
1992 Jul 9, Poet Adrienne Rich
rejected the US government National Medal for the Arts award due to
radical disparities of wealth and power in America.
(SFC, 7/10/97, p.A10)
1992 Jun 14, Mona Van Duyn
(1921-2004) became the first woman to be named the nation's poet
laureate by the Library of Congress.
1992 Oct 8, Derek Walcott
(1930-2013), West Indies born poet (Saint Lucia), was named winner
of the Nobel Prize in literature. In 1997 his collection of poems
"The Bounty" was published. In 2014 an anthology of his poetry was
(SFEC, 7/13/97, BR p.1)(AP, 10/8/97)(Econ,
3/20/10, p.94)(Econ, 4/26/14, p.81)
1992 Audre Lorde (b.1934),
American influential black lesbian poet, died of cancer. In 1996 the
TV documentary: "A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre
Lorde was shown." In 2004 Alexis De Veaux authored "Warrior Poet: A
biography of Audre Lorde."
(SFC, 6/18/96, p.B7)(SSFC, 4/18/04, p.M2)
1993 Jul 13, A.K. Ramanujan
(b.1929), Indian poet and scholar, died in Chicago. In 1999 his
collected essays were published.
1994 Sep 10, Amy Clampitt
(b.1920), American poet, died. Her books included “Kingfisher"
(1983). In 2005 Willard Spiegelman edited her selected letters:
“Love, Amy: The Selected Letters of Amy Clampitt."
1995 Feb 6, Poet James Merrill
(b.1926) died in Tucson, Arizona, from AIDS. In 2001 Alison Lurie
authored "Familiar Spirits: A Memoir of James Merrill and David
Jackson." In 2015 Langdon Hammer authored James Merrill: Life and
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Merrill)(SSFC, 3/11/01, BR
p.3)(Econ., 4/18/15, p.75)
1995 Jul 16, Stephen Spender
(b.1909), English poet and critic, died. In 2004 John Sutherland
authored “Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography."
(HN, 2/28/01)(Econ, 6/19/04, p.81)
1996 Mar 18, Odysseus Elytis,
Greek poet and Nobel Prize winner (1979), died in Athens at age 84.
1996 Apr 13, George Mackay
Brown (b.1921), Scottish poet and novelist, died in his hometown of
Stromness, on the Orkney Mainland. In 2006 Maggie Ferguson authored
“George Mackay Brown: The Life."
(Econ, 6/3/06, p.81)(http://tinyurl.com/fdgky)
1997 Apr 5 Allen Ginsberg
(b.1926), the counterculture guru who shattered conventions as poet
laureate of the Beat Generation, died in New York City at age 70.
His last book of poems "Death and Fame: Last Poems 1993-1997" was
edited by Bob Rosenthal, Peter Hale and Bill Morgan following his
death. In 2000 Bill Morgan edited "Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays
1952-1995." In 2001 David Carter edited "Allen Ginsberg: Spontaneous
Mind, The Selected Interviews, 1958-1996." In 2006 Bill Morgan
authored “I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen
(SFEC, 4/6/97, p.A11)(AP, 5/5/97)(WSJ, 4/2/99,
p.W6)(SFEC, 5/9/99, BR p.3)(SFEC, 3/5/00, DB p.4)(SSFC, 4/8/01, BR
p.2)(SSFC, 11/5/06, p.M1)
1997 Jul 27, Mohammed Mahdi
al-Jawahri, classical Arab poet, died in Syria. He was the most
famous poet of Iraq from whence he fled in 1979. His work included
"Between Passion and Feeling" (1928) and "Al Jawahri’s Divan"
(SFC, 8/2/97, p.A21)
1998 Jan 27, In Britain poet
laureate Ted Hughes won the $33,000 Whitbread Book of the Year award
for his "Tales of Ovid."
(SFC, 1/28/98, p.E6)
1998 Jul 28, In Poland Zbigniev
Herbert (b.1924), poet and essayist, died at age 73 in Warsaw. He
insisted that civilization depended on artists’ staking out clear
moral positions resistant to the winds of history and ideology. In
1999 John and Bogdana Carpenter translated "Elegy for the Departure
and Other Poems," and "The King of the Ants: Mythological Essays."
(SFC, 7/30/98, p.B2)(SFEC, 3/28/99, BR p.8)
1998 Oct 7, Ted Hughes, poet
laureate of England, won the $16,930 Forward Prize for best poetry
collection for his "Birthday Letters."
(SFC, 10/8/98, p.E3)
1998 Oct 28, Ted Hughes,
British poet, died at age 68. His work included 35 books of poems, 3
works of prose, 2 opera libretti, and 4 stage plays. In 2007
Christopher Reid edited “Letters of Ted Hughes."
(SFC, 10/30/98, p.A17)(Econ, 11/24/07, p.90)
1999 Jul 24, Shoukry Ayyad,
Egyptian poetry critic, died at age 78. His 20 books on Arabic
poetry, language and theater included "The Hero in Literature and
Fables," "Music of Poetry," and Language and Creativity."
(SFC, 7/27/99, p.A17)
2000 Oct 1, Stanley Kunitz (95)
succeeded Robert Pinsky as the US poet laureate.
(SFEC, 10/22/00, BR p.2)
2000 Dec 30, Russia’s Pres.
Putin endorsed the new national anthem with words by poet Sergei
Mikhalkov (1913-2009) and the original Soviet music. Mikhalkov
adjusted the text again, replacing references to Lenin and the
Soviets with a paean to Russia's "divinely protected" forests and
meadows that span from "southern seas to the polar lands."
(SFC, 12/31/00, p.B5)(AP, 8/27/09)
2002 Aug 11, Jiri Kolar (87), a
Czech poet and artist known mainly for his pioneering work in the
art of collage, died in Prague. His poetry books included "Birth
2002 Aug 15, Larry Rivers (78),
painter, sculptor, jazz musician and poet, died in Southampton, NY.
Rivers was born as Yitzroch Grossberg in Bronx, NY.
(SFC, 8/16/02, p.A25)(NW, 8/26/02, p.9)
2002 Aug 28, Amiri Baraka, poet
known as LeRoi Jones until 1968, was proclaimed the poet laureate
for New Jersey. Gov. Jim McGreevey later regretted the proclamation
following Baraka's poem "Somebody Blew Up America."
(WSJ, 10/3/02, p.D6)
2002 Tsutomu Yamaguchi
(1916-2010), twice-victim of the 1945 nuclear bombs in Japan,
published a collection of 31-syllable poems (tanka) that reflected
on his WWII ordeal.
2003 Apr 5, Kirby Doyle (70),
San Francisco Beat poet and writer, died.
(SFC, 5/14/03, p.A17)
2003 Jul 6, Kathleen Raine
(95), a poet and scholar whose verse explored the realms of nature
and the spirit, died in London. "Stone and Flower" (1943),
illustrated by Barbara Hepworth, was her first published collection,
followed by "Living in Time" (1946) and "The Pythoness" (1949).
2003 Aug 7, F.T. Prince (90),
South African poet, died in Southampton, England. His work included
the WWII poem "Soldiers Bathing."
(SFC, 8/13/03, p.A23)
2003 Aug 16, Haroldo de Campos
(73), Brazilian poet, died in Sao Paulo. He was the best know of the
Brazilian Concrete poets.
(SFC, 8/26/03, p.A19)
2003 Aug 28, The US Library of
Congress said it would name Louise Gluck as the nation's poet
laureate. Her 9 books included "The Wild Iris" (1992).
(SFC, 8/29/03, p.A3)
2003 Nov 3, Rasul Gamzatov,
Dagestan poet, died in Moscow. He wrote in Avar, a language spoken
by some 500,000 people in Dagestan. He also wrote the prose work "My
(SFC, 11/4/03, p.A21)
2003 Nov 4, Charles Causley
(86), English poet, died.
(Econ, 11/22/03, p.85)
2003 Dec 12, Fadwa Toukan
(b.1917), Palestinian poet, died in Nablus at age 86.
(SSFC, 12/14/03, p.A31)
2003 Felix Dennis, publisher of
Maxim magazine, published his 1st volume of poetry “A Glass Half
(WSJ, 2/6/04, p.A6)
2004 Feb 6, It was reported
that John Barr, a Wall Street banker, was named president of the
Chicago-based Poetry Foundation. He replaced Joseph Parisi.
(WSJ, 2/6/04, p.A6)(SSFC, 6/27/04, p.M2)
2004 Mar 12, Natan Yonatan
(81), Israeli poet, died near Tel Aviv.
(SFC, 3/13/04, p.B8)
2004 Apr 25, Thom Gunn
(b.1929), British-born poet, died in SF at age 74. His 1st book,
titled "Fighting Terms" (1954), was recognized as part of the
British group called "The Movement." He moved from England to
America in 1954 to live with his male lover and explore the
(SFC, 4/28/04, p.B7)(Econ, 5/8/04, p.83)
2004 Jun 3, Eugene Ruggles
(b.1935), SF poet, died in Petaluma, Ca. His books included
“Lifeguard in the Snow" (1977).
(SFC, 6/4/04, B6)
2004 Jun 24, Carl Rakosi (100),
American poet, died in SF.
(SFC, 7/2/04, p.A1)
2004 Jul 13, Christopher Hewitt
(58), disabled gay poet, died. He was among the many poets to have
read at the Café Babar.
(SFC, 7/21/04, p.B7)
2004 Aug 12, Ted Kooser of
Lincoln, Nebraska, replaced Louise Gluck as US poet laureate.
(SFC, 8/13/04, p.E20)
2004 Aug 14, Czeslaw Milosz
(93), Polish poet and Nobel laureate (1980), died in Krakow. He was
known for his intellectual and emotional works about some of the
worst cruelties of the 20th century. Milosz was born on June 30,
1911, in Szetejnie, now Lithuania, and studied law at the University
in Vilnius. There, he published his first book of poems, "Three
Winters," in 1936. In 2006 Cynthia L. Haven edited the book “Czeslaw
(AP, 8/14/04)(Econ, 8/21/04, p.72)(SSFC, 9/24/06,
2004 Oct 21, Anthony Hecht
(81), American poet, died in Washington DC.
(WSJ, 10/26/04, p.D8)
2004 Dec 2, Mona Van Duyn
(b.1921), US poet laureate (1992), died at her home in University
(SFC, 12/4/04, p.B7)
2005 Mar 7, Philip Lamantia
(77), SF Surrealist poet, died in North Beach. His 9 books included
“Erotic Poems" (1946).
(SFC, 3/11/05, p.B7)
2005 Mar 30, Robert Creeley
(b.1926), US poet, died in Odessa, Texas.
(SFC, 4/1/05, p.B7)
2005 May 25, Steve Mason (65),
considered the poet laureate of the Vietnam War, died in Ashland,
Ore. His books included “Johnny’s Song: Poetry of a Vietnam Veteran"
(SFC, 5/31/05, p.B4)
2005 Jun 9, Richard Eberhart
(101), Pulitzer Prize winning poet, died in New Hampshire.
2005 Jul 7, Gustaf Sobin (69),
American-born writer and poet, died in France. His work included the
2000 novel “The Fly-Truffler."
(SFC, 7/13/05, p.B7)
2006 Jun, A fax informed Donald
Hall (77), former poet laureate of New Hampshire, that he would be
the next poet laureate of the US.
2006 Sep 1, Hungarian poet
Gyorgy Faludy (95), a legend of resistance to the rise of Nazism and
Communism, died at his home in Budapest. He spent 1950-1953 in the
Stalinist concentration camp at Recsk. Faludy won international fame
with his autobiographical novel "My Happy Days in Hell" in the
1960s, which related his escape from fascist Hungary and his return,
and imprisonment, in a country under communist rule.
(Reuters, 9/2/06)(Econ, 9/16/06, p.96)
2006 Edith Grossman published
“The Golden Age: Poems of the Spanish Renaissance," her English
translations from the original Spanish works of 8 poets.
(SSFC, 9/3/06, p.M3)
2006 Abu Dhabi’s government
Authority for Culture and Heritage launched The Million's Poet to
2007 Jul 15, Mahmoud Darwish,
the world's most recognized Palestinian poet, delivered a stinging
tirade against Palestinian infighting in his first public appearance
in decades in the Israeli city of Haifa.
2007 Jul 18, Sekou Sundiata
(b.1948), black poet and activist born as Robert Franklin Feaster,
died of heart failure in Westchester, NY.
(SFC, 7/28/07, p.B5)
2007 Nov 8, Samina Malik (23),
who called herself the "Lyrical Terrorist" and penned poems with
titles including "How To Behead," became the first woman to be
convicted under Britain’s terrorism legislation.
2007 Nov 15, Berkeley poet
Robert Haas won the National Book Award for his recent collection
“Time and Materials."
(SFC, 11/16/07, p.A2)
2007 Dec 15, Diane Middlebrook
(b.1939), poet, biographer and teacher, died in SF. Her books
included “Anne Sexton: A Biography" (1991).
(SSFC, 12/16/07, p.A1)
2007 Juan Gelman (b.1930),
Argentine poet, won the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious award
for Spanish-language literature.
2008 Jan 12, Angel Gonzalez
(82), one of Spain's most prominent poets and member of a literary
generation known for its opposition to the dictatorship of Gen.
Francisco Franco, died.
2008 Jan 16, In New Zealand
Hone Tuwhare (86), the first Maori poet to be published in English
and one of New Zealand's most celebrated verse writers, died.
2008 Mar 22, Michael Kassel
(54), San Francisco blues musician (the Hellhounds) poet known as
Vampyre Mike, died after a long illness. His books included
“Graveyard Golf" and “Going for the Low Blow."
(SSFC, 4/20/08, p.B6)
2008 Apr 17,
Aime Cesaire (b.1913), a Martinique poet honored throughout
the French-speaking world and a crusader for West Indian rights,
2008 Aug 9, Mahmoud Darwish
(67), a Palestinian poet, died, died in Houston, Texas. His poetry
eloquently told of his people's experiences of exile, occupation and
infighting. His 1973 work “Journal of an Ordinary Grief" was
translated to English in 2010.
(AP, 8/10/08)(Econ, 8/23/08, p.75)(Econ,
2008 Sep 28, Konstantin Pavlov
(b.1933), Bulgarian poet and screenwriter, died. He was among the
few Bulgarian intellectuals who dared to assert their professional
independence during the 1945-89 communist regime. Some of his most
popular volumes of poetry are "Sweet Agony" (1991), "The Murder of
the Sleeping Man" (1992) and "A Long Time Ago..." (1998).
2008 Oct 21, Jordanian police
arrested a local writer for incorporating verses of the Quran, the
Muslim holy book, into his love poetry. Islam Samhan, published his
collection of poems, "Grace like a Shadow," without the approval of
the Jordanian government, and authorities said it insults the holy
2009 Jan 5, Turkey restored the
citizenship of its most famous poet Monday in a symbolic step meant
to show it was addressing criticism of its human rights record in
hopes of joining the European Union. Turkey had stripped Nazim
Hikmet of his nationality in 1951 at the height of the Cold War
because of his communist views, branded him a traitor and imprisoned
him for more than a decade. He died in exile in Moscow in 1963.
2009 Jan 18, Moldovan poet
Grigore Vieru (b.1935) died in a car crash. He was admired for his
courage in promoting Romanian, the country's native language, when
Moldova was a Soviet republic. In the 1970s, he wrote "The Little
Bee," Moldova's first Romanian-language school manual for young
2009 Feb 20, Christopher Nolan
(43), an Irish poet and novelist, died in Dublin. He had refused to
let cerebral palsy get in the way of his writing. Using a "unicorn
stick" strapped to his forehead to tap the keys of a typewriter,
Nolan laboriously wrote out messages and, eventually, poems and
books as well. His autobiography, "Under the Eye of the Clock: The
Life Story of Christopher Nolan," won the prestigious Whitbread
Award in 1988.
(AP, 2/22/09)(Econ, 2/28/09, p.91)
2009 Apr 28, Ursula Askham
Fanthorpe (b.1929), a highly regarded English poet, died near her
home in Wotton-under-Edge in western England. She was first inspired
by the human tragedy she saw in a neurological hospital.
2009 May 1, Britain awarded the
role of national poet laureate to Carol Ann Duffy (53), the first
woman to hold a post that has been filled by William Wordsworth,
Alfred Lord Tennyson and Ted Hughes. Duffy, a gay woman, has
published more than 30 books, plays and children's stories as well
as poems that mix accessible modern language with traditional forms.
(AP, 5/1/09)(SFC, 5/2/09, p.A3)
2009 Jun 3, David Bromige (75),
London-born poet and former Sonoma State Univ. professor, died in
Sebastopol, Ca. He was Sonoma County’s 2nd poet laureate
(SFC, 6/17/09, p.B4)
2010 Mar 17, In Abu Dhabi Hissa
Hilal, only her eyes visible through her black veil, delivered a
blistering poem against Muslim preachers "who sit in the position of
power" but are "frightening" people with their fatwas, or religious
edicts, and "preying like a wolf" on those seeking peace. She
presented her 15-verse poem on the live TV “The Million's Poet"
2010 May 30, Peter Orlovsky
(76), poet and partner of Allen Ginsberg, died in Vermont.
(SFC, 6/3/10, p.C5)
2010 Nov 3, Purushottama Lal
(81), Indian poet and publisher, died. He published some 3,500
titles of Indian writers in English.
(Econ, 11/13/10, p.105)
2011 Jan 17, John Ross (72), US
poet, author, journalist and political activist who lived in Mexico
and wrote extensively on its leftist political movements, died of
liver cancer. His books included "Rebellion from the Roots:
Zapatista Uprising in Chiapas."
2011 Aug 22, Samuel Menashe
(85), New York City poet, died.
(Econ, 9/3/11, p.87)
2011 Oct 6, The Nobel Prize in
literature was awarded to Sweden’s top poet Tomas Transtromer (80).
2011 Dec 2, Christopher Logue
(85), English poet, died.
(Econ, 12/17/11, p.166)
2011 Jack Foley (71), Oakland,
Ca., poet, authored “Visions and Affiliations: A California Literary
Time Line Part One," a 1,300 page chrono-encyclopedia of Bay Area
poets and poetry.
(SFC, 8/20/11, p.E1)
2011 Liao Yiwu, exiled Chinese
poet, published his memoir “For a Song and a Hundred Sons: A Poet’s
Journey Thjrough a Chinese Prison" in Taiwan and Germany. Earlier
versions were were seized by police in 1995 and 2001. It was
translated to english in 2013.
(SSFC, 7/7/13, p.F4)
2012 Jan 17, In China Zhu Yufu
(58), a writer and democracy advocate, was charged with subversion
in Hangzhou for writing a poem urging citizens to gather to defend
their freedoms. In February Yufu was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
(SFC, 1/18/12, p.A3)(SFC, 2/11/12, p.A2)
2012 Feb 1, In Poland Wislawa
Szymborska (b.1923), Nobel-winning poet (1996), died. She published
fewer than 400 poems.
2012 Mar 27, Adrienne Rich
(b.1929), American feminist poet, died in her Santa Cruz, Ca., home
after a long struggle with rheumatoid arthritis.
(SFC, 3/29/12, p.A1)
2012 Jun 7, The US Library of
Congress named Natasha Trethewey, Mississippi’s top poet, as the
nation’s poet laureate.
(SFC, 6/7/12, p.A9)
2012 Oct 2, Nguyen Chi Thien
(73), Vietnamese poet, died in Orange County, Ca. In 1979 he managed
to pass 400 of his poems to the British ambassador in Hanoi before
being arrested. They were later published as “Flowers of Hell" and
won for him the Int’l. Poetry Award in 1985.
(Economist, 10/13/12, p.114)
2012 Nov 13, Jack Gilbert
(b.1925), American lyrical poet, died in Berkeley.
(SFC, 11/14/12, p.C3)
2012 Nov 29, Qatari poet
Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami was sentenced to life in prison for
an Arab Spring-inspired verse that officials claim insulted Qatar's
emir and encouraged the ruler's overthrow. Al-Ajami was jailed in
November 2011, months after an Internet video was posted of him
reciting "Tunisian Jasmine." His life sentence was later cut on
appeal to 15 years.
(AP, 11/29/12)(Econ, 12/7/13, p.63)
2013 Apr 8, Chilean forensic
experts exhumed the body of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, trying to
solve a four-decade mystery about the 1973 death of one the greatest
poets of the 20th century.
2013 Aug 30, Seamus Heaney
(74), Ireland's foremost poet and Nobel Prize winner (1995), died in
Dublin after a half-century exploring the beauty of Ireland and the
political torment within the nation's soul.
2013 Sep 25, The body of poet
Kofi Awoonor (78) was returned to Ghana. He was among the 72
civilians shot down by Islamic extremists at the Westgate mall in
Nairobi. He had come Nairobi to take part in a literary festival.
2013 Nov 29, Russian poet
Natalia Gorbanevskaya (77) died in Paris. She was among the eight
demonstrators arrested in in 1968 in Moscow’s Red Square for
protesting the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
(Econ, 12/7/13, p.94)
2013 Dec 3, Egyptian poet Ahmed
Fouad Negm (84), renowned for his revolutionary poetry and outspoken
criticism of Arab political leaders, died. He became recognized as a
voice of protest in 1967 when he wrote poems on the Arab-Israeli
war, which were highly acclaimed.
2014 Jan 9, Amiri Baraka
(b.1934), poet, playwright and black nationalist, died in New
Jersey. He was born as Everett LeRoi Jones and changed his
name in 1965 following the assassination of Malcolm X. His play
“Dutchman" won the 1964 Obie Award for best American play.
(SFC, 1/10/14, p.D5)
2014 Jan 14, In Mexico Juan
Gelman, the celebrated Argentine poet and fierce critic of the South
American nation's "dirty war" against leftists, died in Mexico City.
2014 Apr 14, Romanian poet and
translator Nina Cassian (89) died in NYC. She had obtained political
asylum in the US after the Communist-era secret police found her
critical poems scribbled in a friend's diary.
(AP, 4/16/14)(Econ, 5/17/14, p.86)
2014 May 28 Maya Angelou
(b.1928), American poet, writer and civil rights activist, died at
her home in Winston-Salem, NC. Her 1969 memoir “I Know Why the Caged
Bird Sings" was the first of her seven memoirs.
(SFC, 5/29/14, p.A11)(Econ, 6/7/14, p.98)
2014 Aug 27, Bulgarian poet
Valeri Petrov (born as Valeri Nissim Mevorah in 1920), died. His
many translations included the complete works of Shakespeare.
2014 Oct 9, Poet Carolyn Kizer
(89), 1985 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her collection “Yin,"
died in Sonoma, Ca.
(SSFC, 10/12/14, p.C8)
2014 Nov 28, Saeed Akl
(b.1912), Lebanon's leading poet, died. Some of his most famous
poems were sung by Lebanon's top singer, Fayrouz, including the
emotional "Take Me Back to My Country," a song that was played
endlessly on radios during the country's 15-year civil war.
2014 Nov 29, Mark Strand,
former US poet laureate (1990-1991), died in Brooklyn. He won a 1999
Pulitzer Prize for his collection “Blizzard of One."
(SSFC, 11/30/14, p.A14)
2014 Dec 26, Former Harvard
lecturer Stanislaw Baranczak (68), Poland's outstanding poet,
translator and dissident, died at his home near Boston, Mass.
2015 Jan 26, Eileen Kaufman
(93), former wife of SF Beat poet Bob Kaufman (d.1986), died at a
senior home in Richmond, Ca. It was her efforts got Bob Kaufman’s
collection: “Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness" published in 1965.
(SFC, 2/4/15, p.D2)
2015 Jan 28, American poet
Steve Sanfield (b.1937), founder of the Sierra Storytelling
Festival, died at his home on the San Juan Ridge in Nevada Ct., Ca.
His work included 30 books.
(SFC, 2/12/15, p.D3)
2015 Jan 29, Rod McKuen
(b.1933), poet and song-writer, died in Beverly Hills. His work
included some 200 albums and over 30 collections of poetry. Some of
his best-known songs, including “If You Go Away" and “Seasons in the
Sun" were written with Belgian composer Jacques Brell.
(SFC, 1/30/15, p.A10)
2015 Mar 26, Tomas Transtromer
(83), Swedish poet and Nobel laureate (2011), died.
(SFC, 3/28/15, p.A2)
2015 May 14, Franz Wright (62),
American Pulitzer Prize winning poet, died in Waltham, Mass. He was
the son of James Wright, another Pulitzer Prize winning poet.
(SFC, 5/16/15, p.A6)